Monday, November 19, 2018

Shisen Hanten - A Two Michelin Starred Disappointment

Lunch was at Shisen Haten, which hails from Japan and has 2 Michelin stars to its name in Singapore. Having just dined at the 2 starred Tin Lung Heen just 2 weeks prior, comparisons were naturally inevitable.

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The Place

Situated on the 35th floor of Mandarin Orchard, the place reminded me of a posh wedding ball room with relatively high ceilings and overhanging chandeliers. Heavy drapes covered up more than half of the windows so natural light and views were at a premium. Not quite my style.

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Steamed Kurobuta Pork and Radish Dumpling

This was just a fancier soon kueh with little bits of pork and without the bamboo shoots  And it tasted like soon kueh, just alot saltier. The skin was respectable though; moist and a little elastic.

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Crispy Puff Pastry with Abalone and Diced Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce

To be honest, we had high expectations of this and we were hopeful it would be on par with that of Tin Lung Heen's or at least Lung King Heen's. Sadly it was rather lacklustre. An abalone slice wrapped in a crispy puff pastry that yielded rather fishy notes on the first bite but was soon overwhelmed by the strong black pepper sauce. Definitely in a different league.

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Barbecued Specialities Duo Combination Platter

We opted for the Crispy Roast Pork and Honey Glazed Barbequed Pork and both were pedestrain at best. The BBQ pork was rather thinly sliced and came across as too lean whilst the roasted pork, though sporting a crisp skin, was too porky for my liking. Nothing like the awesome roasted pork from Tin Lung Heen.

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Stir-fried Hokkaido Scallop with Crab Meat, Egg White and Broccoli

Thinly sliced (but not overcooked) scallop coupled with crab meat, egg white and broccoli - not overly starchy or heavy. Pretty decent though I would have prefered thicker chunks of scallop.

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“Chen’s Mapo Doufu”

One of the signatures and the one we were eagerly anticipating. I requested to turn the spice down a notch but it was still a tad too much for me to handle. But I liked it; very fragrant with a nice kick and without the gravy being too thick. Best eaten with a bowl of rice.

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Fried Rice with Barbecued Pork and Seafood

This was the best dish of the day in my humble opinion. The rice was fragrant with a tinge of wok hei and didn't come across as overly oily. I'm not particularly big on empty carbohydrates but couldn't resist polishing off the whole plate.

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Chinese Pancake

Flaky without the oozing oil syndrome and rather generous serving of red bean. Very decent.

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Our lunch came up to about $184, which was rather pricey for the quality of food. The place has 2 Michelin stars like Tin Lung Heen but food quality definitely is at a lower level. Service at Shisen Hanten also paled in comparison. Though polite, the wait staff lacked finesse and an eye for detail; our water wasn't topped up regularly and the distribution of plates/utensils came across as a little clunky.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 7/10
Food: 6.5/10 (7.5/10 for the Mapo Doufu and fried rice)
Value for money: 5/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Address: Level 35, Orchard Wing, Mandarin Orchard Singapore

Contact: 6831 6262/ 6831 6266

Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday
Lunch: 12:00pm - 3:00pm

Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays:
First Seating: 11:00am - 12:45pm
Second Seating: 1:00pm - 2:45pm

Daily: 6:00pm - 10:00pm


Monday, October 29, 2018

Tin Lung Heen (天龍軒), Hong Kong - Hits And Misses With A Spectacular View

We were on a weekend trip to Hong Kong for a break but our favourite restaurant was full so we thought we would give Tin Lung Heen (or TLH for short) a shot since they still had a table on a Saturday afternoon.

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The Place & View

Located on the 102nd floor of the posh Ritz Carlton, TLH boasts a high ceiling coupled with floor to ceiling windows which showcase the awesome view of the harbour and sea (which is why window seats are a must and have to be requested way in advance). Definitely the highest restaurant that I've dined at with one of the best views I've seen (coming in 2nd place is 100 Century Avenue Restaurant @ Park Hyatt Shanghai). Oh and before I forget, it currently holds 2 Michelin stars.

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Candied Walnuts

To start. Decent but not as good as Imperial Treasure Cantonese's variant in my humble opinion.

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Deep Fried Shrimp Toast

A signature of Tin Lung Heen and it sounded really good on paper. Alas it wasn't quite up to scratch. I appreciated the rather generous serving of shrimp per slice but the crisp toast had an oily aftertaste that got worse as it cooled down. The sweet and sour sauce helped to mask the greasiness but it got so nauseating towards the end that we left a few slices untouched.

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Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumpling with Scallop and Conpoy &
Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumpling with Prawn and Coriander

There was one of each so we ordered 2 baskets to get a taste of both. And honestly, though sizeable, neither was anything to shout about.

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Baked Middle East Yoshihama Abalone Puff

This has got to be the best abalone puff I've eaten so far and even edges out the one from Lung King Heen. For starters, the abalone was a lot bigger (quite a fair bit more expensive as well) and sat on a bed of flaky, buttery pastry. The layer of minced pork wedged between the abalone and tart had a mild, peppery taste to it. Overall the flavours were more intense and delicious.

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Steamed Rice Roll with Barbecued Pork with Osmanthus Flower Honey

Although the cheong fun came across as overly thick, it was rather smooth and silky with huge chunks of BBQ pork. And it was literally a chunk, not chopped or diced meat but one whole big piece. Feels more like BBQ pork with rice roll, not the other way around. No complaints though.

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Roasted Crispy Pork Belly

The siew yoke was probably one of, if not the best I've eaten in a long time. Crackling crisp without coming across as too porky or oily or salty and the skin being overly burnt. Almost perfection. Personally would have preferred it cut into slightly smaller cubes though.

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Barbecued Iberian Pork with Honey

Another of Tin Lung Heen's signature dish and a very famous one at that - advance reservations need to be made and you can request for one portion (HKD 356) or half a portion. Being the greedy char siew lover that I was, I went for the full one portion (~8 to 10 thick chunks of meat)
The verdict? It was good, but not mindblowing. Sure, the pork was very tender and beautifully glazed with honey (which surprisingly wasn't overly sweet) but I personally felt it lacked depth (maybe a little charred edges would help?)

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Traditional Baked Egg Custard Tart

Having just had the egg tarts from Kam Wah in the morning, comparisons were inevitable. Pricing aside, TLH's rendition had more finesse, especially on the custard (Kam Wah's version was rougher around the edges) but I personally preferred the latter's as it had a stronger oven baked aroma and taste to it.

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Petit Fours

Peanut cookies and osmanthus jelly to end off; something that Lung King Heen seems to have done away with.

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Overall the food was a mixture of hits and misses. The Abalone Puff and Crispy Pork Belly were standouts and so is the view. Service was excellent as well. But at the same price point (~SGD 280), I'm inclined to stick with Lung King Heen for a more consistent quality throughout.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 9/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7.5/10 (9/10 for the Abalone Tart and 8/10 for the Pork Belly)
Value for money: 6/10

Overall: 7.5/10

Address: Level 102, International Commerce Centre

Contact: (852) 2263 2270

Opening Hours:

Monday - Friday
12 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Saturday - Sunday
11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Seven Days a Week
6 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sushi Ginza Onodera (銀座おのでら), Tokyo - Michelin Starred Sushi Pictorial

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Grating the Wasabi

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Baby Snapper

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Cucumber Roll

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Coconut Pudding with Matcha Sauce

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Summary - Great sushi omakase experience. Very friendly service from our chef and best tamago I've ever eaten - the texture is almost pillowy like cake.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Food: 8/10
Value for money: 8/10

Overall: 7.75/10

Address: 5-14-14 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Sunlit Ginza Building II 1st floor

Contact: 050-3187-9490

Opening Hours:

Lunch: 00-15: 00 (Last order 14: 00)
Dinner: 00-22: 00 (Last order 20: 00)


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wakkoqu ((神戸牛ステーキ「あぶり肉工房 和黒), Kobe Japan - A Pictorial

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The Place

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Assorted Vegetables

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Beansprouts with Beef Fat & Fried Rice

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A5 Kobe

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Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7/10 (old school restaurant feel and you'll end up smelling like food)
Service: 8/10
Food: 9/10
Value for money: 8/10

Overall: 8/10

Address: 1F Hillside Terrace1-22-13 Nakayamate-dori, Chuo, Kobe-city (神戸市中央区中山手通1丁目22-13 ヒルサイドテラス1F)

Contact: 078-222-0678

Opening Hours: 12:00 - 22:00 (Last order: 21:00) daily except for New Year Holidays